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Discussion Starter #1
Lately I find that after a couple of days use - about when the reed is broken in - after I've played for a while the reed starts to shut off the airflow, as if it suddenly weakened. When I remove them, the reeds are warped, bent, or curved (?) toward the mpc. This happens on different horns, with different reeds so it's got to be me. I don't think I'm biting but must be using too much pressure, for some reason. So- should I try to get a softer embouchure (not sure how to do this since I don't know what I'm doing differently) or goto a harder reed to resist the bending (I really find harder reeds difficult to play for long) or go to a softer reed ( maybe this will make me use less pressure). I usually use 2 1/2 or 3 vandoren's on tenor and alto. I'd be grateful for any suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your interest. My tenor mouthpiece is a Rousseau (classic) #5, for alto I use a Morgan 3c. I usually play a reed for about 5 or 10 minutes and put it away for a day before using it again. FYI, I'm a 3 year player, not really a beginner but certainly not an experienced player.
 

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My observation of my students is that this problem may be related to taking too little mouthpiece in, as there is always excessive pressure exerted on the flexible portion of the reed, effectively closing down the mouthpiece tip opening, and curving the reed. Try taking more mouthpiece--find the "breakpoint" where the mpc curves away from the (new) reed. Put your teeth directly above that point, with the embouchure encircling the mpc at this point. I find that this position is the ideal balance of resonance and control. More mpc tends to lose control, but less tends to close off the reed. Your reeds will last longer, and your sound should immediately be more resonant.
 

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I've heard this before and I think it works well. The only thing that you've not mentioned here is the facial structure/dental structure--lip fullness. I remember having a student back in the 90's that was from Taiwan: She had a REALLY bad underbite. I did EVERYTHING short of playing the horn FOR her to get a decent sound...It was so tough...to date, I think she has been the one and only student I've ever had that I felt probably SHOULDN'T be playing the saxophone...just for facial/dental structures alone... This is an extreme point but there are variations of this seen all the time. I'm an example. My bottom teeth and top teeth meet directly together with neither overbite nor underbite--If my jaw was aligned a mm either way I'd have an overbite or underbite but I don't...The place where the reed meets the mouthpiece is indeed the sweet spot but I can't place my teeth directly over that on the mthpc; however, my bottom lip is right on that fulcrum point....if that makes any sense...

I've always felt that those with an overbite have an advantageous in this regard because you have to by default take more mouthpiece to get your BOTTOM lip up to the fulcrum point...
 

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nitrosax said:
I've always felt that those with an overbite have an advantageous in this regard because you have to by default take more mouthpiece to get your BOTTOM lip up to the fulcrum point...


Not really, at least for me. It just has the bad aspects of taking more mouthpeice in such as boominess and lack of control. It also makes it hard to feel comfortable; I feel like I need to move my lower jaw forward.
 

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Martinman said:
Not really, at least for me. It just has the bad aspects of taking more mouthpeice in such as boominess and lack of control. It also makes it hard to feel comfortable; I feel like I need to move my lower jaw forward.
Raise the neckstrap and just do it. I've been sticking to the "more mouthpiece" thing for awhile now, and my sound got worse for about two or three weeks. It was bigger and louder, but completely uncontrolled, boomy and metallic sounding, without a hint of warmth. After about a month and a half of really just forcing myself to take in lots of mouthpiece, I'm finally really learning to control it and reap the benefits. My dynamic range has increased enormously from before. I just played a rehearsal with a Soul Band, and I was loud enough to be heard clearly on everything I played, even though I was the only horn who made it today. This is all with a Link 8 and RJS 2H.

Stick with it. It eventually pays of very, very nicely.
 

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dirty said:
Raise the neckstrap and just do it. I've been sticking to the "more mouthpiece" thing for awhile now, and my sound got worse for about two or three weeks. It was bigger and louder, but completely uncontrolled, boomy and metallic sounding, without a hint of warmth. After about a month and a half of really just forcing myself to take in lots of mouthpiece, I'm finally really learning to control it and reap the benefits. My dynamic range has increased enormously from before. I just played a rehearsal with a Soul Band, and I was loud enough to be heard clearly on everything I played, even though I was the only horn who made it today. This is all with a Link 8 and RJS 2H.

Stick with it. It eventually pays of very, very nicely.

I started taking in a lot of mouthpiece in the 5th grade when I started (cause it was louder ;) ). When I read on here to "take in more/a lot of mouthpiece," I took in more than I needed, so much that my upper lip started touching the back of the beak, where it slopes sharply up. Obviously, this is not good. I played with as much mouthpiece in my mouth as I could handle without gagging for about 6 months and made no tonal improvement than I could have practicing normally. I am backing off just a tiny bit now, and I seem to have the same sound but with much more control. The Barone exercises help too.
 

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For lack of a better term here, there is a 'sweet-spot' on the mouthpiece...The place that allows you to play the louds and the softs...
The sweet spot is different and different looking for each player...The famous JM Londiex took VERY little mouthpiece and he had a huge classical alto sound...Vincent David takes more and Bornkamp more and Tim McCallister practically eats that piece when he plays...Sonny stitt played with a lot of mouthpiece and he too had a killer sound...You can get the sound you need either way...I think it's best not to get too hyped-out on taking too much versus too little...listen to the sound and let intuition guide you...

2cents
 
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